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News from Catholic Homeschooling Resources, Issue #42 - MORE on Read Aloud and Notebooking
August 04, 2017

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Issue #42 MORE on Read Aloud and Notebooking - Is it all you need?

Last week I wrote about how, if you are a brave and adventurous soul, you could ditch all of your textbooks and workbooks (except for your math curriculum) and simply use read aloud time and notebooking for your entire curriculum. So many people contacted me and wanted more information that I thought I'd follow up again this week.

After giving it some more thought, I realized that there are a lot of similarities between this approach and unit studies. Unit studies include reading a lot of books about a certain topic, person or short time period. A good unit study includes all of your main subjects such as: writing, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, history, science, art, music, life skills and phys ed. The difference seems to be that, in unit studies, a lot of hands on type activities and projects are included. Things like experiments, journaling, displays, reports (both written and oral), performances or skits and the like. So, if you are a family that likes to include a lot of hands on learning, then unit studies are a fabulous way to teach a large family in a more relaxed environment.

What the author of the article I read was advocating was essentially no hands on learning and just doing all of your learning from reading books together and then journaling each day about what was read. The type of journaling done could vary from day to day or child to child so that they could do a summary of the chapter, draw a map, draw a picture, make a list of important things, etc. This approach works well for teaching a lot of kids at the same time in a relaxed environment if you don't like doing (or are not able to do) projects and the like.

The difference is subtle but the outcome is the same in that you are teaching potentially a lot of kids, regardless of age, at the same time in a lot shorter period of time than if they all had their own set of textbooks and workbooks. We had to move to the unit study approach when I was teaching 5 and 6 kids at a time because I just couldn't fit in all of their work otherwise and still have time to do everything else that needed to get done.

A Key Point!

Here is why this is all so important. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have a lot to accomplish in those 24 hours and if we spend the bulk of our day between 9 and 5 doing nothing but school, when on earth are we going to get other things done. There just has to be time to do things like appointments, lessons, housework, bill paying, shopping etc. If you have a lot of children, you will reach a point where you need to streamline your schooling so you have some time to get this other stuff done.

Even if you don't have a large family, you might just not want to spend a lot of time on textbooks and workbooks. Or what if your kids just learn better in a more relaxed atmosphere?

This is definitely a good thing to consider if you're feeling stressed about homeschooling. What if you just tried it for a year? If no one liked it (not likely) you could always switch back later on.

Your biggest decision is, do I want to include hands on learning in the form of a unit study, or do I just want to read and write? Either way, it could be a very freeing experience for everyone in your family.

I've done a pretty good job of elaborating on the original article, but here is the link to it in case you'd like to see more. There is a statement in there about the Catholic Church being afraid of science, but beyond that it is fine.

I hope that this has helped those of you who were asking for more. I know it has definitely inspired me to promote the unit study concept more and to write more good Catholic unit studies.


To everyone who purchased a copy of "A Plan for Joy in the Home" over the past two weeks. The winner of the book "Treasures and Traditions" was Blanca S! Remember, I'm always here to answer any questions you might have when it comes to setting up your plan, so don't hesitate to send me an email!

Thanks for reading. Oh, and please pass this on to other homeschoolers you know who might benefit from this newsletter. If they sign up, they'll get a free download of "10 Secrets to a More Joyful Homeschool"; and who couldn't use that??

Have a great weekend!

Laura Dominick

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Until next time, may God Bless you abundantly!

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